HOIHOI brings new life to designer handbags or sneakers

Sustainability, environmental awareness, upcycling, downcycling, saving energy… in our efforts to preserve our planet, we try to integrate as many of these concepts into our daily lives as possible. Yet, we realize we can always do a bit more when we meet Justine Moens. The thirty-year-old shoemaker and founder of HOIHOI, extends the life of your favorite shoes and bags significantly.

From a young age, we were taught to sew buttons back on, darn socks, and repair holes in clothes. We might have taken cheaper shoes to the local cobbler for a new sole or heel, but what about designer handbags or sneakers? We thought there was no solution for those because the village cobbler seemed too rough for such expensive leathers. Then, a few months ago, at Love Tomorrow, an event focused on sustainability by the organizers of Tomorrowland, we met Justine Moens and had an epiphany. The thirty-year-old shoemaker and founder of HOIHOI passionately told us about how she makes (luxury) handbags, shoes, designer sneakers, and other aged or worn leather goods shine again with a lot of love. We had to know more.

HOIHOI, an aftercare service for shoes, bags, and leather goods

A few weeks later, we rang the bell at Justine Moens’ HOIHOI studio in Oosterzele. Just as enthusiastic as when we first met her, she showed us a Louis Vuitton handbag from which she had removed the completely worn lining and replaced it with a new one. The result looks brand new. Further on, Justine restores the color of the corners of a Brillant by Delvaux. After her facelift, the handbag looks brand new. Justine’s studio is also much more professional than we had imagined. She has professional equipment for polishing, leather stitching, and heel making. We are amazed and decide to put her to the test ourselves. We give her a vintage Delvaux handbag in crocodile leather and some designer sneakers to restore to their original glory. A few weeks later, we discover the result, and it’s simply beautiful.

Walking into my grandmother’s house with dirty shoes is something I still wouldn’t dare to do to this day!

Justine actually started her career in road construction, but she inherited her passion for shoes and bags from a young age. “My great-grandfather had a shoe store and was a shoemaker in Ypres. That’s why I studied shoe technology for sports and rehabilitation and then industrial engineering in electromechanics. I started my career in road construction, but the urge to work with leather goods kept nagging at me. I retrained as a shoe repairer and further specialized in the restoration of (designer) handbags. “By cleaning, repairing, or reinventing them, I want to make people fall in love again with their favorite items from their wardrobe,” says Justine. Mission accomplished, as we too look at our accessories with love when we get them back. Thanks to Justine Moens and her pursuit of sustainable fashion. We will definitely return!

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